Musicians Speak out Against Racial Profiling at London Clubs

December 8, 2008

In London, musicians and fans are fighting against a police measure that has been accused of using racial profiling to help determine which venues and acts run the risk of drawing dangerous crowds at music concerts.

police.jpgForm 696 is used to assess risk for music events. It requires that the licensees of clubs and venues submit to the police the names, aliases, private addresses and phone numbers of all musicians and performers that are going to appear at a venue in advance of the event.

The form also requires information on the ethnic background of the audience and the type of music will be played at the event. Some of the questions on the form have been seen as targeting black and Asian people.

Information gathered from Form 696 will be used by police to determine particular venues or performers that tend to draw a troublesome crowd.

Police say that the information ultimately helps them make sure that events are safe.

However, Form 696 has drawn a lot of criticism from musicians and music fans. Feargal Sharkey, who rose to fame as singer for punk rock group the Undertones, has been fighting to stop Form 696.

Sharkey, the head of UK Music, has reported the racial profiling on the form to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Musician John “The Reverend” McClure has created a petition against Form 696, and a Facebook group has also been created to speak out against it.

If licensees do not fill out and turn in the 8-page form to police, they could face a loss of license, a fine, or even imprisonment. Some licensees have reportedly decided that they just won’t have live music events.

Currently Form 696 applies to 21 of London’s boroughs, but it is feared by people in the music business that other cities will begin to copy it if it becomes accepted.



One Response to “Musicians Speak out Against Racial Profiling at London Clubs”

  1. Edward on December 8th, 2008 8:54 pm

    So clubs can’t protect themselves by calculating which groups are most likely to cause trouble? That’s like ignoring US federal statistics and then claiming we’re all equal.

    As for the musicians, they should follow Laura Ingraham’s advice to shut up and sing!

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